According to popular culture, it takes about 10,000 hours to achieve mastery in a given field.
This means that if you practice four hours a day, five days a week, you can achieve mastery in your choose profession in about ten years.
Well, my chosen profession is Leadership.
And I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that with the many demands of work and life, it would be impractical (and maybe even impossible) to take four hours out of my already jam-packed day to “practice.”
And what does practicing leadership mean anyway?
I suppose I could read a book, take an online course, or attend a seminar. While all useful and highly recommended, you’re not practicing leadership in these situations.
This led me to create a simple strategy that can be used in the real world and applied in a wide range of situations. I call it The GAMES Model.
The GAMES Model by Ron Vereggen
The GAMES Model is a five-step process that I created that anyone can use to develop the skills of a Mindful Leader.
It can be used in real time, in real-world situations, and all it takes is 15 minutes a day.
Here’s how it works …
G – GOAL (1 to 2 minutes)
“Mindful leaders live with intention.” – Ron Vereggen
The G in GAMES stands for goal.
The reason that 75% of leaders report being reactive is that they haven’t asked the simple question … what do I want?
In this step, you will answer the question: “What is the one thing that I want to accomplish with absolute certainty?”
This process will work for any size goal. Initially, I recommend starting with small things, and as you develop the habit of achievement, take on bigger and better challenges.
A great place to start is with The Mindful Leaders Manifesto where I outline The 12 Measures of Mindful Leadership.
A – ADVERSITY (2 to 3 minutes)
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is the power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Victor E. Frankl
The A in GAMES stands for adversity.
Now that you have identified your goal, it’s time to figure out what’s preventing you from achieving it.
With your goal in mind, ask yourself the question: “What’s preventing me from achieving what I want?”
When I first added this step, I was very good at placing blame on others and looking for reasons outside of myself.
The real work of mindful leadership begins when you look within and start building self-awareness by widening the gap between stimulus and response.
As you dig deeper, you will start to identify the underlining fears, beliefs, thoughts, doubts, habits and behaviours that are preventing you from achieving what you want.
M – MINDSHIFT (2 to 3 minutes)
“You can’t see the solution to the problem from within the problem.” – Linda Ferguson
The M in GAMES stands for mindshift.
It’s impossible to discover a solution to your problem from within the problem.
This is where we can apply mindfulness in the real world.
A useful mindfulness tool will enable you to shift from your present unresourceful state to one that is more effective in achieving your goal.
A state is the combined pattern of thoughts, beliefs, bodily sensations, sensory input, and external stimulus that invokes a “feeling” within you at a specific moment in time.
An unresourceful state will keep you stuck in your current pattern of thinking while a resourceful state will grant you more perspective.
For example, we’ve all had situations where we’ve been unable to think clearly because of fear, judgement, anger or anxiety.
One of the most natural mindful techniques is to stop and breath and is a great way to recenter and ground yourself.
Simply spend 60 seconds focusing your attention on your breath.
Stop and take a few deep breaths. Focus your attention on each in and out breath. When you get distracted (and you will) turn your attention back to your breathing.
E – EXPERIMENT (5 to 7 minutes)
“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” – Tony Robbins
The E in GAMES stands for experiment.
Now that you have set a clear intention, practiced self-awareness, and shifted into a resourceful state, it’s now time to take action.
You want to identify a micro-behaviour, a small, focused action, to reduce friction and build momentum.
At this point, you should be in one of two places. Your next action is either crystal clear, or you are still experiencing uncertainty.
If you are clear on the next action – do it!
On the other hand, if you are not sure, I recommend that you guess and test.
Yup … guess what the next action could be and test it out.
I’ve written about my decision-making approach in the past, and you can read more about it here.
The important thing is that you decide (guess) and take action (test).
S – SATISFIED (1 to 2 minutes)
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates
The S in GAMES stands for satisfied.
The last step in the process is to measure your results.
To do this, ask yourself: “Am I satisfied with the result of my actions?”
If yes, congrats! Take a moment to recognize the effort that you applied to achieve your goal.
If no, congrats! Take a moment to recognize what positive thing you learned.
Regardless of your result, the secret of success is to continue through the five-step loop, again and again.
There you have it, my five-step formula for practicing mindful leadership in just 15 minutes a day.
Here’s a quick recap …
- Goal – Set a clear intention focused on what you want.
- Adversity – Pay attention to both the external and internal roadblocks that are in your way.
- Mindshift – Use a mindfulness tool or technique (e.g. take three deep breaths) to shift your state.
- Experiment – Determine your micro-behaviour (small, focused action) and do it (guess and test).
- Satisfied – Are you satisfied with the result? Yes – choose your next goal. No – Go through the loop again.
I guarantee that you can use The GAMES Model in any situation and I’ve yet to come across a case where it can’t.
If you need help (or you want to try and stump me), send me a quick note outlining your situation and I will be sure to respond.
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